Gunmen Abduct Three Zamfara Govt Officials

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Bandits dressed in military uniforms have kidnapped the Zamfara State Director of Budget, Hamza Salihu, killed his deputy, Kabir Ismail, and abducted two of his staff.

Salihu was abducted on Sunday along with two aides on a highway in neighbouring Kaduna State.

The victims were on an official trip when they were ambushed by a kidnapping gang in a “terrible and disturbing” attack, Zamfara State Government spokesman, Yusuf Idris, said in a statement.

The gunmen were said to have opened fire on the vehicle the victims were travelling in, killing the Deputy Budget Director, Ismail and injuring a female colleague, the spokesman said.

“Bad elements… still use security uniforms to stop and kidnap unsuspecting law-abiding citizens,” the statement said.

Kidnapping attacks have surged in North-west, the home of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Bandits stealing livestock, kidnapping and destroying villages have capitalised on a lack of security presence in rural areas.

Entire villages have been deserted for fear of raids by criminal gangs which have bases in the dense forest that spreads across northwest Nigeria and into neighbouring Niger.

In the first three months of 2019, nearly half of the kidnappings in the country were in Zamfara, the Inspector General of Police, has said.

The security forces launched “Operation Puff Adder” in April to combat kidnappings and armed robberies on roads in northwestern and central Nigeria.

Buhari yesterday extended the operation to the south of the country after a string of attacks “as part of a total overhaul of highway security architecture”.